How to Choose the Right House Plans

House plans, also called floor plans or building plans, are to-scale representations of a house's dimensions, to be used as specifications for building contractors. A house plan is drafted as an overhead view, and includes inner and outer walls, windows, staircases, levels and other architectural features. It is possible to browse and shop for floor plans online and/or through home builders and architects. Because there is such a wide variety of plans available to you, it is important that you know how to find a plan that is suited to your needs. Follow these guidelines for how to choose the right house plans.


  1. Image titled Choose the Right House Plans Step 1
    Think about your lifestyle. Your house needs to serve all aspects of your daily routine and fit in with your mode of living.
    • The size of your immediate family (or those who will be living with you in the house) can be the main determinant of the square footage and/or number of rooms in your home building plans.
    • Determine how often you like to entertain guests, and if you prefer to have room(s) for them to stay over extended periods of time.
    • Identify the areas that you and your home-mates generally congregate. For example, some families find that they often spend most of their free time gathered in the kitchen area, whereas other families may spend a majority of their time in the game room.
    • The work spaces in your house plans of choice should be congruent with your lifestyle. For example, if you do a lot of yard work or have outdoor hobbies, then you will want a washroom that can be accessed from outside the home; moreover, if you have an interest that is noisy (music, woodworking, etc.), then you may need a work space that is far removed from the home's living areas.
  2. Image titled Choose the Right House Plans Step 2
    Assess your need for privacy. You may prefer to have a master bedroom that is separate from the living areas, or you may work from home and require home designs that incorporate a private home office area.
    • House plans that are segmented and/or angular (L-shaped or U-shaped) generally offer more privacy than square or rectangular homes.
    • Consider the placement of windows, and how they relate to the property and/or surrounding homes.
    • If outdoor privacy is a concern for you, then home designs with enclosed patios, porches and deck areas are a good fit for you.
  3. Image titled Choose the Right House Plans Step 3
    Take home furnishings into consideration.
    • Envision the layout of each room on the floor plans you are considering in order to determine what type of furniture, and how much of it, you will need.
    • Unless you plan on buying new furniture, your house plans should accommodate the furnishings you have. Remember that you need at least 3 feet (0.9 m) of walking space around each item of furniture.
    • Keep in mind both the traffic flow from room to room, as well as the flow of natural light (i.e. where you will place the furniture in regards to windows, doors and views), when creating a home furnishing plan.
  4. Image titled Choose the Right House Plans Step 4
    Evaluate the building lot. The lot you choose to build on will play a large part in determining the type of house plans you may consider.
    • The lot should accommodate the size of the house you want to build; not only the structure itself, but also the driveway and easements (storm drains, sidewalks, sewer access, etc.).
    • A narrow and/or sloped lot is good for multilevel buildings, but may not work for a single level home.
    • Your house plans should take advantage of the aesthetic strengths of the lot. For example, if your lot has a long, panoramic view, then your house plans should include features that capitalize on that view.
    • The orientation of your home must provide for practical access to connecting roadways. Additionally, you should be conscious of the placement and orientation of surrounding homes when choosing house plans that suit your orientation requirements.
    • Depending on your lifestyle and the size of your property, you may want to consider floor plans that open up to the lot at multiple access points, and/or that incorporate large decks for outdoor entertaining.
    • Consider the direction of the rising/setting sun, as well as the blowing wind, when choosing where in your house plans you prefer to have windows, doors and deck areas.


  • Keep in mind that house plans can be changed. For example, you may not like the outside aesthetic of a plan, the designation of a sun room (when you'd rather have a sitting room) or the 3-car garage, but the rest of the plan may be a good fit. In this case, you can have an architect alter the plans to your specifications.
  • To fit a larger floor plan into your budget, cut back on some of the options. You always have the option of adding onto or upgrading your existing structure later on, once you can work it into your budget.


  • Don't forget to plan into the future when choosing home building plans. For example, if you are newlyweds, then you may want to account for the possibility of adding children to the family by choosing a plan with extra space.

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Categories: Build Design & Remodel Own Home